The days of the past two weeks have blurred together, obscured by life’s busy-ness, and it’s unfortunate because I never thought the passing of my dear 22-year old cat, Olivia, would be so lost in daily life. I’ve discovered that having young children in my life causes things to way things to go that way. Between you and me and Olivia, I’ve often said that Olivia saved my life, and maybe to you that sounds too overblown, but it’s not too far from the truth.
I adopted a wee 6-week old kitten from the county animal rescue, thinking I’d saved her from the fate of being put to death, but really her entry into my life at that time gave me someone to come to home to when I was very lonely, my life lacked direction, and I didn’t know what potential my life held. She, and the second kitten I’d adopt one month later, Phinney, were little balls of delight to come home to after work. Doing temp work to pay bills, I found a roommate to help with the rent, and who tolerated the cats, and would eventually go on to her own home and adopt a cat or two, and who has ended-up a lifetime friend. My kitties saw me through poor choices in boyfriends, the death of my father to AIDS, my bout with thyroid cancer, marriage to my husband Alex, the addition of a stray cat who adopted us all and blended well with Olivia and Phinney, the arrival of our two children, and the passing of Phinney almost two years ago. Olivia loved the crinkle of paper, and it shocked to me to discover the loss of her hearing at age 5 due to an adverse reaction to a routine vaccine, but we weathered it and her super-loud deaf-kitty meowing for 17 years nonetheless.
Over the last few years Olivia and Phinney didn’t get as much attention as they would have liked, although we cared for them, doted on them and loved them. For Olivia that meant that I overcame my fears and gave her weekly fluid injections at home, and she enjoyed the pleasure of going out on the enclosed deck to for fresh air, some kitty grass and a bowl of water. She became rather crotchety in her old age, but when your the equivalent of about 104 in human years, have kidney disease, can’t see well, and deaf, I think you have the right to have some attitude. Still, every evening she looked forward to our watching TV on the sofa next to her after the kids went to be, in fact she would wait for us, and if we didn’t come, she would come and demand our presence.
In her last two days it became apparent that she wasn’t doing well, wasn’t feeling well and that the end was near, and we all had the opportunity to spend a little time with her. But she is gone, and we miss her; her body was small, her presence was huge.